Genuine (1920, dir. Robert Wiene) Set design by German Expressionist painter César Klein.
“I had been longing to get my hands on Conrad Veidt ever since he came to England. He was such an overpowering personality that directors were afraid of him. He was tall, over six foot two inches, lean and bony. He had magnetic blue eyes, black hair and eyebrows, beautiful, strong hands, and a mouth with sardonic, not to say satanic, lines to it. He used an eye-glass. He was the show-off of all time. In private life, as I was to discover, he was the sweetest and most easy of human beings.
…Conrad Veidt was seated alone at a table by the window drinking coffee when Emeric [Pressburger] and I arrived at the studio restaurant. Emeric and I exchanged a glance. This magnificent animal was reserved for us. I went over and stood at his table. He looked up and I got the full impact of those deep blue eyes under black brows.
I said: ‘Mr Veidt, my name is Michael Powell. Alexander Korda has told me that we are to work together on ‘The Spy in Black’.’
He said: ‘Ye-e-e-s.’ Pumas purr like that.”
-Michael Powell on meeting Veidt (via Powell’s A Life in Movies: An Autobiography)
“No matter what roles I play, I can’t get Caligari out of my system.”
“I realized that the sets had to deviate completely in form and design from the usual naturalistic style. The images had to be like visionary nightmares – averted from reality, they had to acquire fantastic graphic form. No real structural elements could be recognizable…[Caligari co-set designer Walter] Reimann, who applied the Expressionist painting technique in his designs, succeeded with his idea that this subject had to have Expressionist sets, costumes, actors, and direction…
Furthermore, I would like to say that sets should remain as background in front of which the action takes place, reflecting it and supporting the actor, who is after all supposed to have the major supporting role. In Caligari, this relationship is reversed. In this single special case I will concede that the sets became the major means of expression.”
-Caligari co-set designer, Hermann Warm, Caligari & Caligarismus
“The scenes in the steep, dark, crooked alleyways belonged to him. Even when he was not in front of the camera, he would prowl around the studio and startle us.”
-Lil Dagover on Veidt (via)